South by Southwest season is almost upon us. The Interactive and Film conferences kick off on March 9 with the Music Festival starting in earnest the following week.
From the beginning, international music has been a huge part of SXSW. Festival organizers say they expect about 25 percent of the roughly 2000 artists scheduled to attend SXSW this year to travel to Austin from abroad.
On Tuesday, festivals organizers put out a call looking for Austin families who are willing to host international artists. To host an international artist you just need a spare bed (air mattress and sleeper couches are acceptable, the floor is not) and an open heart. In exchange, the festival will provide music fest wristbands to your household.
“The SXSW International Housing Program is one of my favorite things about living in Austin, and that’s saying a lot because I love Austin,” Robin Dusek, who works at the University of Texas and has been hosting bands for eight years, told us last year. She’s taken in bands from all over Mexico, New Zealand and a slew from Scotland. A lifelong music fan, she loves the way the program puts her in the mix with the festival, but the best part is the musicians themselves.
“They come over as these strangers staying in your house and then you become friends because you’re just in this situation together,” she says. “That’s what the biggest benefit is, meeting these awesome people.”
Centrally located homes with easy access to public transportation are preferred. If you’re interested in hosting a band, you can learn more about the program here.